Learn better

Grades are not the determinator of learning; it is the mind that has trained and skilled itself well enough to apply the acquired learnings. Let us know the Whys, Whats and Hows of learning.

Grades and our learnings

Securing Grade A’s in all subjects and an excellent academic report may give you immediate delight but the ability to apply the knowledge by retaining it will give you long term happiness. This is an outcome of the quality of learning. It goes beyond rote memorization and regurgitating facts, to a realm where the student is able to adapt their learning capacities over time, with less dependence on theory or study material.


What is learning to learn?

Learning to learn is the ability to pursue and persist in learning, to organise one’s own learning by managing time and information effectively both individually and in groups. Such a form of active learning helps to instil a concept in our long – term memory. Here, higher levels of thinking get involved in our learning process. There is a progression in the levels of understanding, from simple recall of information to the ability to think in abstract terms, and make connections between ideas. In this technique, information is integrated and not isolated, thus permitting us to connect our knowledge to a wider picture. Today even national education boards such as ICSE have introduced questions which require critical thinking and deeper analysis.


So how does one acquire these skills?

To address the big question-”How”- we must first develop a sense of curiosity. This is what drives us deeper into subjects, pushing through the surface level of knowledge and continuously seeking new information. One recalls Einstein’s famous words, ”I have no special talent, I am just passionately curious.” Curiosity needs to be fuelled with critical thinking skills and inclination to develop a growth mindset. We are no longer afraid to make mistakes, rather, we embrace them as a part of our learning experiences that help us become better versions of ourselves. The renowned psychologist Carol Dweck had rightly remarked , “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when it is not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”


Effective learning

On the slightest self reflection, I realize that I remember rotation and revolution which I studied in the fourth grade but not the chemistry equations which I studied last week., The simple answer is that, I LEARNT why the seasons changed, while I STUDY Chemistry. When our learning is isolated i.e. limiting our education to definitions, learning feels tedious and irrelevant. This is how the brain interprets isolated information, making us forgetful.

We can learn most effectively when we apply our learnings in real life situations, consolidating our understanding. As we keep our minds open to accept new ideas with curiosity, the process of learning becomes enjoyable and engaging. Transferring our understanding to others by teaching them helps us gain a fresh perspective on the subject.


About the authors

The article has been contributed by the following students from St. Joseph’s High School, Matigara, Darjeeling: Shatakshee Datta, Sreejita De and Dhruvika Kithania.

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